Have you ever made resin and epoxy crafts?
Resin craft has exploded in popularity in recent years as a fun, creative DIY project for home decor and handmade gifts. From coasters to jewelry, petri dish art to tabletops, when mixed with dyes, glitters, and found objects, epoxy and other resins can be transformed into gorgeous works of art. If you’re looking for a new craft to try, making resin and epoxy crafts allows you to produce professional looking results with simple techniques.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through everything you need to know from choosing your materials, preparing your workspace, mixing and pouring the resin, adding inclusions, drying and curing, to finishing techniques. We’ll also include safety tips when working with chemicals and provide inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. Let’s get started!
Materials Needed to make Resin and Epoxy Crafts
Here’s a list of everything you need to create stunning resin and epoxy craft:
- Resin (epoxy, polyester, or UV-curing) – This is the main material that will be mixed, poured, and cured to create the resin crafts.
- Pigments and add-ins (glitter, sequins, dried flowers, photos, etc.) – These items can be mixed into the resin to add color, textures, and creative designs. A wide variety allows for lots of crafting options.
- Mixing tools (stir sticks, plastic cups, pipettes) – Accurate mixing of resin and hardener is critical so tools like stir sticks ensure proper mixing and cups and pipettes enable easy pouring control.
- Work surface covering (plastic sheeting, foil) – Covering your work area prevents drips and spills from sticking as resin cures. Plastic sheeting is ideal for resin crafting.
- Personal protective equipment (gloves, goggles, respirator) – Working with liquid resin requires gloves to protect skin from irritation. Goggles protect eyes from splashes. A respirator prevents inhaling strong fumes.
- Sandpaper – Various grit sandpaper is needed for smoothing and polishing resin after the curing stage. Start coarse and work up to very fine grit for high shine.
- Sealant (polyurethane) – After finishing resin pieces, a sealant is applied to the non-resin side and edges to protect from moisture damage over time. Polyurethane is commonly used.
How to create Resin and Epoxy Crafts
Preparing Your Workspace
Proper preparation is crucial for success and safety when resin casting. Select a work area with good ventilation that you can tolerate small fumes and odors, or work outdoors. Cover your table or workbench with plastic sheeting, foil, or craft paper to prevent spills and drips from sticking. Gather all your materials and tools so they’re within easy reach.
For mixing containers, use plastic cups or disposable containers. Do not mix resin in glass containers which can inhibit curing. Have paper towels or rags available to quickly wipe up any spills. Wearing gloves and an N95 respirator mask is highly recommended when working with resin to prevent skin contact and inhalation of fumes.
Mixing the Resin
Once your workspace is fully prepped, you’re ready to mix and pour the resin. Carefully measure out equal parts resin and hardener according to package directions. Combining an inaccurate ratio will prevent proper hardening. Thoroughly mix the resin and hardener together for 3-5 minutes, stirring slowly and scraping the sides and bottom of the container. Mixing properly is critical.
Adding Creative Inclusions
One of the best parts of resin crafting is being able to add fun and creative inclusions inside your finished pieces. Popular additions include glitter, faux flowers or leaves, sea shells, small toys, paper images, photographs printed on acetate, coins, beads, and more.
Plan placement of inclusions before pouring the resin so they won’t sink or float out of position. Heavier items should be pressed into the initial layer of resin so they stay suspended when additional layers are poured. For paper items, seal them with a thin brush coat of resin first so the resin won’t damage the paper when poured over it. Avoid using inclusions that contain any moisture which can inhibit curing.
Pouring the Resin
Slowly pour the resin mixture into your chosen mold or form. You can find hundreds of different shapes and sizes of resin molds in the market. Use a plastic pipette or disposable cup with a spout for better control. Tap the sides of the mold to allow air bubbles to rise to the surface. Use a lighter or blowtorch to quickly pass over the surface which will help eliminate bubbles. Allow resin to fully cure in the mold according to manufacturer guidelines, usually 24-48 hours. Do not disturb the resin while curing.
You can also make your own resin molds, which allow you to have more flexibility for your creative resin projects.
Drying and Curing the Resin
It’s crucial to allow resin pieces to fully cure before handling. Exact cure times will be specified by the resin manufacturer, but epoxy resin usually takes 24-48 hours for a complete cure. Avoid jostling or bumping projects while drying. Overly thick pours may develop heat and cracks while curing, so follow recommendations for maximum thickness and pour layers if needed.
Once initially cured, you may notice small bumps, divots, air bubbles or uncured tacky spots. These can be sanded down and a thin second coat applied to fill any imperfections. Allow the second coat to fully cure before sanding and polishing. When wet sanding, always start with a coarse grit sandpaper like 120-150 working up through finer 220, 400, 600 grits for a glass-like finish. Change sandpapers frequently to avoid scratches.
Finishing and Sealing the Resin
For a professional polished finish, continue wet sanding with increasing finer grits ending at 2000-5000 grit. Apply a thin sealing coat of resin and allow it to cure fully. Buff using a microfiber cloth or buffer wheel with polishing compounds. For jewelry pieces, consider coating the back and edges with resin as well to protect from moisture and give a finished appearance.
For other resin crafts like serving trays or coasters, seal the backside and edges with a waterproof sealant like polyurethane. This prevents moisture damage. Drill holes in or attach hardware prior to sealing if you’d like to hang your finished piece on the wall. The possibilities are endless when it comes to decorating and display options.
Inspiring Project Ideas for Resin and Epoxy Crafts
Not sure where to start? Here are just a few inspiring ideas for gorgeous resin crafts:
- Stylish jewelry – necklaces, pendants, rings, bracelets embedded with botanicals or charms
- Abstract fluid art coasters with swirled pigments and inclusions
- Petri dish art like butterfly wings or flowers preserved in clear resin
- Photos, prints, or tissue paper collages printed on wood or canvas then coated with a clear glossy resin layer
- Large statement tables or shelves with LED lights and objects suspended in resin
- Fully seal and preserve sentimental items like wedding bouquets or baby shoes
- Create nautical themed items with shells, starfish, sea glass, and glitter
Let your creativity run wild! Think of any small objects you find interesting and imagine encasing them forever as home decor or unique gifts.
Safety Tips When Working With Resin and Epoxy Crafts
While beautiful, resin does contain chemicals that require safety precautions. Work in a well-ventilated area, open windows and use fans to circulate fumes. Wear gloves to avoid skin contact which can cause irritation, rashes, or possible allergic reactions. Goggles and a respirator mask are also recommended. Avoid contact with eyes and mouth.
Clean up spills immediately with rubbing alcohol to prevent curing on work surfaces. Dispose of mixing containers, gloves, and other materials properly. Wash hands thoroughly after use. If you will be doing resin crafting regularly, set up a designated area with proper ventilation and protective covering to contain the work. Follow all manufacturer safety warnings and instructions.
Creating handmade resin and epoxy crafts is an immensely satisfying DIY project for all skill levels. With proper selection of materials, preparation of your work space, following step-by-step mixing and pouring techniques, and allowing adequate drying time, you can produce professional looking results.
Embedding creative inclusions and applying finishing methods like sanding and sealing take your projects to the next level. Resin crafting opens up an entire new world of gift ideas and home decor possibilities to make completely unique pieces. As you develop your skills and artistry with each piece, you’ll love showing off these glassy works of art and sharing the joy of creating.